Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Call Me "The Bus Usher"

An usher tells people where to sit, and I've been doing that on buses recently. 

Just tonight for instance.  We, (my husband and I,) picked up our bus by the "white faux Calder" where French Hill and Ramat Eshkol meet, down the road from Mt. Scopus, across from Ammunition Hill.  It's one of the last stops in Jerusalem and sometimes the bus is very full, even over-full.  When we got in, the bus seemed full except in the front.  That's because out of the two first double seats on each side, three had only one man each.  So that means that out of the eight seats, three were empty.  Now, by the time I took that in, we were moving, and I had no desire to walk in a moving bus, especially when there were empty seats.  So I spoke out loud to prepare the fellas and give them a chance to play musical chairs if they considered it unacceptable to sit next to a female. 
"There are three empty seats, because three men are sitting alone.  One, two, three."  I pointed when I saw their confused looks.
OK, I needed to sit down and I did next to the man who seemed the thinnest.  There have been times when for other couples or when the woman didn't want to sit next to a man, I've asked that two men sit together to free the seat.

Last week, the last seat was next to a woman who had dozed off and was half in the second seat.  A young woman was standing there, seatless, so I tapped the dozing woman on the shoulder and gently told her that someone needed to sit.  She thanked me and happily made room.

And then at the last Jerusalem stop, another couple got in; they looked older than me and my husband.  The woman began walking to the back of the bus to find a seat, but a young girl got up and gave her one.  The husband took a while, standing as he paid.  Then he looked into the bus for a seat and started to walk.  As he passed me, I told him that there weren't any, and he should sit in the front row.  There was no reason why the young man should be alone.  So he sat down.

There are times when we just need to say what needs to be said.


Hadassa said...

I would have made a general request that,"I would like to sit next to my husband," and waited to see who would move. Most people reason that if they have to give up the empty seat next to them, they might as well let a couple sit together. I've made similar requests, sometimes in order to sit with a child and I've never been refused. Even in America when traveling with either my mother or an older sister we used to request to sit next to each other. It was obvious to the other passengers that I was too young to be sitting alone and there was always someone willing to move. It seems to me that the key to successful "bus ushering" is courtesy: being polite and making requests.

Batya said...

There was no shouting, and it was pretty easy to ignore me. Rarely is there reason to ask to sit next to my husband. I've helped others more than I've helped myself.